September 16, 2004


Words fail. Take a look at this advertisement for Madrid newspaper El Pais.

Posted by Tim Blair at September 16, 2004 03:54 AM

I can't imagine anyone finding this anything other than supremely offensive (Michael Moore excepted).

That's just sick.

Posted by: Spiny Norman at September 16, 2004 at 04:09 AM

If it's real, it's revolting beyond words. But I can't shake the feeling it's an e-mail hoax. I can't believe a major company would be so cavalier about 9/11 - even in Europe.

Posted by: Damian P. at September 16, 2004 at 04:14 AM


Posted by: Sho at September 16, 2004 at 04:20 AM

I just walked past the site 10 minutes ago. I was there on 9-11. I hope this is a fraud.

the motherfuckers.

No, really.

I'm not a flamer or hater, but i feel now about the same way i felt the day I heard about Nick Berg's fate.

Posted by: rod at September 16, 2004 at 04:23 AM

Ahhhhh! So there's the goodwill we've squandered!

Posted by: Wally the Walrus at September 16, 2004 at 04:23 AM

tim's right; words fail.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at September 16, 2004 at 05:01 AM

Trusting but checking. So hard to believe.

I thought maybe un día was the subject of the verb da — “one day gives.” No independent word for “you” occurs in the sentence. I just called a native Spanish speaker, who told me that un día is not the subject, the subject is an implicit usted.

“You give one day for much.” The Spanish speaker said, yes, it’s in the sense of “You can accomplish much, get a lot done, in one day.”

Posted by: ForNow at September 16, 2004 at 05:10 AM

I'm not a native, but I do speak Spanish well enough. I would have translated it as "One day counts a lot...", which would be benign. I'd be interested to hear if a native speaker thinks it could bear that translation.

Posted by: gst at September 16, 2004 at 05:24 AM

Today is one of those days in which i feel ashamed of being a spaniard. Lately is an ussual feeling. Not all of us spaniards are that way, but I understand all that you can think about us. All I can say is sorry.

PD: In english "Un día da para mucho" can be translated in several ways. The subjet is ommited, you can do it in spanish, but in this sentence is confusing. You can translate as "You can do a lot in a day" or "A lot of things can happen in a day"

Posted by: Kynes at September 16, 2004 at 05:30 AM

Wouldn't the second translation offered by Kynes be benign in the context of an ad asking you to read a particular newspaper?

Posted by: gst at September 16, 2004 at 05:35 AM

Believe me, that newspaper isn't benign. They used the train bombings of Madrid in a political way, saying it was the government party's fault because of the suport for the Iraq's war.

Posted by: Kynes at September 16, 2004 at 05:41 AM

Even rudimentary Spanish basically says that they're stating "hey, you could knock down those two buildings in one day, imagine what you could do in three months." Even if they're not perpetuating the destruction of a city, the imagery used is just blatantly wrong.

Posted by: Tom at September 16, 2004 at 05:47 AM

If indeed it is a translation issue, please forgive my comment. I don't speak it so i dont know.

Please excuse my language; tim blair, as well as Andrea H., dont talk like that.

I was there; old wounds. Time for me to grow up and move on.

Posted by: rod at September 16, 2004 at 05:56 AM

Time for me to grow up and move on.

No, rod, it isn't. That's not something one can "MoveOn" from, as much as some would wish. Your continued anger is perfectly understandable.

Kynes' second translation may be what was intended, but it may also be that the paper is being intentionally ambiguous.

Posted by: Spiny Norman at September 16, 2004 at 06:15 AM

BTW, blogger Franco Alemán IS a native Spanish-speaker and he's offended by it. So whichever way you might read it, it's in extremely poor taste.

Posted by: Spiny Norman at September 16, 2004 at 06:20 AM

If the images truly reflected changes happening after a single day, the second shot wouldn't show a pristine WTC-free New York skyline.

It would show a mountain of smoke rising above the still-smouldering mass grave of nearly 3,000 people.

Posted by: tim at September 16, 2004 at 06:26 AM

By saying "un día da para mucho" you could conceivably be trying to say "a lot of things can happen in one day", but you wouldn't be saying it. The meaning conveyed is "much can be done in one day". (Done by whom? That's another question.)

Although it is not at all impossible that the ad was just lousily written; it would indeed match the bad taste in the selection of the subject of the pictures.

But this is El Pais, the paper that, on 9/12 01, printed "The world expectantly awaits Bush's reprisals" ("El mundo en vilo a la espera de las represalias de Bush") across its first page.

Posted by: Marzo at September 16, 2004 at 06:49 AM

I wonder how many Americans are scratching Spain off their vacation lists? I'm doing so, and also making a mental note not to purchase any Spanish imports.

[I know -- this doesn't represent the majority view in Spain, etc. Still, any country that can support such toxic waste in wide-circulation newspapers isn't a place I want to do business with.]

Posted by: Harry at September 16, 2004 at 07:36 AM

I was just there and an update clarifies the translation issues.

Posted by: Sortelli at September 16, 2004 at 08:01 AM

rod, i work in lower manhattan, and i was there then, and i see no fault with anything you said in your original post.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at September 16, 2004 at 08:38 AM

I have spoken with several members of my family and workmates and they all agree. In the sentence "Un día da para mucho" there is one ellipse: "Un día da para [hacer] mucho". The correct translation is the one given by FrancoAlemán: "You can do a lot in one single day".

There is no words that can describe what these bastards of "El País" have done.

Posted by: Juan at September 16, 2004 at 09:13 AM

I'm sorry that you are going through the shame brought on your culture by weak and black-hearted souls. All I can say is live your life as proof that there is honour, decency and grit in a true Spaniard.

some things in our lives can not and should not ever be forgotten. What you (and others) have witnessed makes you the person you now are. There's no moving on, in the sense of discarding the change in your character. The apology, after your outburst explains clearly the decent individual you are.

Posted by: Lofty at September 16, 2004 at 09:32 AM

Stay angry rod! I wasn't offended. Don't move on! That's what the enemy wants us to do.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at September 16, 2004 at 12:08 PM

Absolutely disgusting. I know that there are Spaniards that loath this. This is the infection of the leftoids.

rod, you have every reason to be angry. Don't apologize.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at September 16, 2004 at 12:10 PM

I wonder if the Spanish would be offended if the US produced a similar advertisement using the Madrid train bombing instead of the Twin Towers.

Posted by: dee at September 16, 2004 at 12:28 PM

Rod - don't be so hard on yourself. The wounds are still very fresh for a lot of us. If we had a thread about how each of us hasn't responded well to glibness about this issue, it would be a long, long thread.

Who knew Spain sucked so much, anyway? That's one more country to add to the list I won't buy stuff from. I'm sure drinking a helluva lot of Australian and Italian wine lately, no complaints.

Posted by: Matt in Denver at September 16, 2004 at 12:31 PM

Forget whatever spin you want to put on the translation. Using the 7/11 terror for a half-smart marketing exercise has to be offensive.

Posted by: sportzfan at September 16, 2004 at 02:03 PM

I guess I was the only one not surprised. El Pais was intentionally ambiguous on purpose. If I didn't know any better I'd say it was in retaliation for the US demanding a clarification of Zapatero's recent comments in Tunisia (also see Barcepundit).

However, knowing this rag, I knew they were being their usually provocative selves. I bet they're having a good laugh as they see their hits go up. Yes it's disgusting and evil, but that's El Pais, that's not all Spaniards.

Still taking our navy business elsewhere and our tourism dollars elsewhere will hopefully make Zapatero take note, though he won't cry Uncle Sam.

Posted by: michele at September 16, 2004 at 03:09 PM

Hi to all,

I'm spanish and I feel ashamed of this ad. I think that the problem is not just in the sentence or in the way you can understand it, but the use of something like the 11S as a part of an ad in such a very unrespectful way.

Until now, El Pais was the most respected spanish newspaper for foreingner press and journalists, althrough a lot of people here in Spain think, as I do, that it's just an immoral media wich usually lies and you can NEVER can trust it's news. I hope that now everybody has seen the real face of El País.

Posted by: Carmelo at September 16, 2004 at 07:24 PM

Dee said:

"I wonder if the Spanish would be offended if the US produced a similar advertisement using the Madrid train bombing instead of the Twin Towers."

Picture this? A photo of the destroyed Madrid trains, complete with bodies, could read,
"Don't let your travel plans get messed up this year, book with Amtrak."

Americans are more civilized that Europeans ever were (or ever will be).

Posted by: Arty at September 16, 2004 at 11:47 PM

Isn't this the paper that supports the government now in power? The anti-Bush, quasi socialist government that only got into office by using the Madrid attacks to topple the government that supported the WoT?

Why blame Spain? Should we blame America for the leftist asshattery that spews from countless newsweeklies and our own MSM?

Or should we realise that Spain has moonbats too--and now they're in charge.

Posted by: jack at September 17, 2004 at 01:17 AM

El País has published an apology for the ad campaign, which it has cancelled, accepting the critique received from many readers, which characterized it as "disgusting".
It says it should never had happened and that they are making an internal inquiry about the chain of errors that led to it ever happening.
It is an editorial in tomorrow's edition

Posted by: Malaprensa at September 17, 2004 at 07:44 AM

Carmelo is right. I'm spanish too and feel terrible about this. But you can't blame all europeans for things like this. Here in Spain tons of people have complained and El Pais has apologized to the public already.

Some of the spanish fellows are right. El Pais is a repulsive media, they even manipulate the truth to what they want it to be. The thing is that many foreigners buy that paper, I still don't know why.

The spanish people feel very close to the City of New York. We have felt the new yorkers' simpathy and love when the Madrid bombings ocurred and that's why NYC will always be in our heart.

Again, you shouldn't blame an entire country, or even a continent, for the act of a repulsive few. It's not fair either.

Kind regards to all from Tenerife, Spain.

Posted by: FrankPereiro at September 20, 2004 at 03:02 AM